The GMC protocol for making revalidation recommendations

Recommendations of non-engagement

6.1 Making a recommendation of non-engagement

If a doctor fails to engage with revalidation in line with our guidance, without reasonable excuse, we may withdraw their licence.

If a doctor is not engaging with revalidation, you must inform us, even if the doctor is not in their notice period.

You should also consider whether you have other levers, including disciplinary processes, to manage concerns about a failure to engage.

Criteria for non-engagement

Non-engagement is where all of the following criteria have been met:

  • the doctor has been given sufficient opportunity and support to engage in appraisal or other revalidation activities, but has failed to do so, or the level of engagement is insufficient 
  • you do not have, and do not anticipate having, sufficient information on which to base a recommendation 
  • you have assured yourself that the doctor does not meet the criteria for a recommendation to defer their submission date and there are no reasonable grounds that account for their failure 
  • all reasonable local processes have been exhausted in attempts to rectify the doctor’s failure to engage
  • where applicable, you have notified us of any unaddressed concerns about the doctor’s fitness to practise 
  • where applicable, you have discussed any public interest concerns raised by the doctor with your ELA (see section 2.4)
  • as a consequence of their non-engagement, you cannot envisage being able to make a recommendation by the submission date.

6.2 Timing of your non-engagement recommendation

If you are considering a recommendation of non-engagement, you must discuss this with your ELA or our revalidation team.

6.2.1 During the notice period

Your recommendation of non-engagement should be made before the doctor’s submission date. You must consider whether they could meet the requirements by their submission date. If so, you should contact us to discuss.

You should let us know if a doctor, under notice but more than 120 days away from their revalidation date, is not engaging. We will write to them to remind them that they must engage to maintain their license. If the doctor still doesn’t engage with revalidation, and all local processes have been exhausted, you can then make a formal recommendation of non-engagement.

6.2.2 Outside of the notice period

If a doctor is not participating in the local processes that underpin revalidation outside of their notice period, you must inform us of this. We will write to them to remind them that they must participate to maintain their licence. If the doctor continues to fail to sufficiently engage with revalidation, and all local processes have been exhausted, you can ask us to bring forward their submission date and issue them with notice. You can then make a formal recommendation of non-engagement.

If the doctor begins to engage with revalidation before you make your recommendation of non-engagement, you must decide whether it’s now appropriate to make a recommendation to defer or a recommendation to revalidate.

6.3 How we respond to recommendations of non-engagement

A recommendation of non-engagement begins a regulatory process that can result in a doctor’s licence to practise being withdrawn.

We tell the doctor that their licence is at risk for failing to meet the requirements of revalidation and that they have 28 days to respond. We may share any response from them with you, and ask you for further information, before we make our decision.

If we become aware that a doctor has raised a PIC we may ask you to provide additional information as part of our standard procedure.

If we decide to remove the doctor’s licence, we will give them notice and explain their right to appeal within 28 days of the notice. We’ll tell you the date we will be removing their licence and email you again on the day we remove their licence if they do not appeal. 

If the doctor appeals, we will not remove their licence until the outcome of the appeal is known. During their appeal you must continue with any local processes. You may be asked to provide a witness statement or to attend a hearing as a witness.

During the appeals process the doctor remains connected to you unless the connection breaks for another reason. Their name will continue to appear in your list of ‘Submitted Recommendations’, and in your ‘All Doctors list’. The doctor must have access to appraisal systems and supporting information.

If the appeal is successful, the doctor will keep their licence and get a new revalidation submission date. We will inform you both of the new date. If the appeal is unsuccessful, we will remove the doctor’s licence and let you know.